I’m writing a book. Well, I’m writing like seven, actually. Thing is, I haven’t actually finished any of them. And half written drafts just don’t count, ya know? So, I’ve been trying to figure myself out. What works best for me? Every time I think I know, I realize:
I have no freaking clue.
My strategy for a long time has been working on multiple projects at once. Obviously, that only works when I’m juggling short stories- which are the only things I’ve finished successfully and been published. I’ve considered this my method because I loathe when I force myself to write. I end up deleting most of it anyway.
Sometimes I think that everything I’ve learned about writing has taken me way too long to do it. However, the biggest lesson is my writing is best (needs less revision) if I write happy. Finding out what makes me write happy has been slightly painful. The pain being slow moving to stalled drafts.
Turns out, self imposed deadlines seem to switch my muse into rebel mode. No writing shall pass. Too bad it has taken me years to figure that out and get out of that cycle. I don’t do well juggling novel drafts, I have to focus on one and see it through. But you read all of this writing advice when you’re in the my dream is just to finish this fucking thing zone. A lot of it is really great, it improves your writing so drastically that editing isn’t that bad. Active tense, passive voice, first person vs third… Things I had never really considered, but can make or break your story when all is said and done.
Some advice sounds great, but just isn’t applicable for me. Like: I can’t revise, rewrite, and edit my first draft in one go. Sounds amazing though, right? Just get it all done at once, plug all the holes, iron out the plot, dress your manuscript up in pretty clothes. Maybe when I’m a better writer, I’ll be able to do this. Right now, the result is red ink and highlights and depression.
For me, my drafts are like skeletons- sometimes with some muscles, but generally just bones. I have to build the muscle (revise, plot bust, lean out or plump up), then I can slip the skin on (Edit, rewrite, iron out the kinks), and finally I can put some make up or something on it before I send it out to get rejected a couple hundred times.
I’ve only gotten to the muscle part with any one of my novels, so my conclusion is only that I have to focus on one project at a time and one step at a time. And if I get stuck, I can do the research that I avoid like my keyboard will suddenly become covered in poison.
I also started this blog, so that if anyone ever reads it, I’ll have some accountability. Or at least somewhere to air my troubles.
If you are reading this, my other timid tread into social media is I started a facebook.